Sweet Peril (Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins

 

Sweet Peril (Sweet Trilogy #2)

By Wendy Higgins

SummaryAnna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things. 

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaiden Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaiden must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library

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Review:

I admit that Sweet Evil was a total guilty pleasure YA romance read that took me out of a reading slump, but wasn’t amazing or mind blowing. I could say the same about Sweet Peril, but I also have to admit that it was a really good sequel. In the land of second-book syndrome and awful sequels, YA trilogies with sequels that are better than the first book are rare. Sweet Peril was awesome and much more addicting than the first book. 

Anna was thrust into a lifestyle and had to embrace her darker side in order to fit in and escape the radar of worse characters. Unfortunately, Kaiden’s father was one of those worse characters and it meant her relationship with him wasn’t to be. There was miscommunication, romantic tension, and resistance. It was so much fun.

Sweet Peril was a steamy YA paranormal romance with a ton of conflicts and darker adventures and I couldn’t get enough. I loved the characters, the romance, and the plot and I definitely don’t care if it’s a guilty pleasure kind of book. It was exactly what I needed to get me out of my slump and I can’t get enough. 

Star 4

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Book Blogger Hop – Sept 8

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Hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

This week’s question:

8th – 14th –  Have you ever bought a book because you liked its cover art? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

 

Of course. Sometimes it works out and other times I’m left with a beautiful but terrible book on my shelf!

Some Examples:

Still on my never ending TBR:

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff 

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

 

 

Not as amazing as the cover:

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Roseblood by AG Howard (I actually received this in a Owlcrate, but almost picked it up because of the cover before realizing it was probably in the crate that particular month, so it counts)

 

 

Even more beautiful than the cover:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

 

Review – Sweet Evil (Sweet Trilogy #1) by Wendy Higgins

 

Sweet Evil (Sweet Trilogy #1)

By Wendy Higgins

SummaryEmbrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library.

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Review:

I was in the mood to read a lighthearted and romantic YA paranormal story, but the main issue is that I’ve read so many books. I couldn’t really figure out what was left to read in this category and I stumbled upon Sweet Evil and decided to dig in.

I enjoyed Sweet Evil. It dealt with guardian angels, demons, and the Nephilim and was from Anna’s POV. She was a teenager who always knew she was different. She could see auras and she interpreted them in the form of emotions, so she could sense the emotions of everyone around her. She started to see wisps around people around the same time she turned sixteen and ran into a bad boy drummer without an aura. She wanted to know who he was and why he didn’t have an aura.

Meeting Kaiden propelled her into a dangerous and intriguing life that she was a part of. 

I think my favorite part was that Anna, while somewhat oblivious, wasn’t your typical naive perfect human teenager who suddenly found out she’s supposed to change the world. To some degree, she knew she wasn’t human and it made her a little less naive, despite the fact that she lived a demon-free life unlike the other beings who were like her. I liked that it was a little different and she wasn’t as insufferable as her fellow YA paranormal romance heroines.

Sweet Evil was fun to read and suited my mood. It wasn’t the most complex or thought provoking read, but it was exactly what I needed and I loved the push and pull between Anna and Kaiden.

I definitely recommend the book to anyone who loves YA paranormal romance.

Star 4

Review – Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer

 

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined

By Stephenie Meyer

SummaryWHEN BEAUFORT SWAN MOVES TO THE gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen, his life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With her porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edythe is both irresistible and enigmatic.

WHAT BEAU DOESN’T REALIZE IS THE closer he gets to her, the more he is putting himself and those around him at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back…

IN CELEBRATION OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer has crafted Life and Death, a bold and compelling reimagining of the iconic love story that will surprise and enthrall readers. This special dual edition includes a foreword by the author as well as the complete original novel. Turn this book over to read Twilight.

Source: I borrowed a kindle copy from my local library

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Review:

Curiosity got the best of me and I finally decided to pick this up. I have always liked Twilight, though I’m not one of those fans who think it’s not without its flaws. I frequently defend Bella because I think she was a certain way because of her personality in general and wasn’t meant to be a symbol for all girls everywhere to submit to a creepy man with abusive tendencies. I think people read way too much into things to be honest and Bella has her own strengths. I don’t feel like it’s that awful to find out who you are at the same time you meet someone you can’t live without and I don’t think the book pushes that, but I also believe that teens are NOT idiots and can read a romance without mimicking it, so there’s no real harm, but that’s an argument I’ve made before in greater detail so I’m moving on. 

Anyway, the idea of gender swapping the characters appealed to me because I wanted to see Meyer make her case that the story can work without Bella being a doormat that “sets women back” or symbolizes an unhealthy girl stuck in gender roles that will make teen girls also become doormats. Because I defend Bella as a character, I wanted Meyer to prove to me that it CAN work the other way around.

I do feel that some things worked by switching genders and I feel like Meyer successfully presented the situation. I hope she stops getting so much flack for “ruining feminism” or YA romance or whatever the heck people tend to accuse her of doing to women that’s so wrong by creating Bella’s character. 

Beau worked really well as a guy who fell for a vampire girl and took care of the cooking in his household because he enjoyed it and not because he was a girl and her place was in the kitchen. I totally believed that I was reading a character who was supposed to be guy, even with the occasional internal monologues and awkwardness. I never imagined Bella as a guy, but it worked for me in this book in a way I didn’t expect. Edythe as the girl version of Edward also worked really well, surprisingly! I thought it would be tough with her super strength and protective tendencies which I’ve always associated more with male characters who are supposed to be dangerous, but it worked perfectly with her being a female vampire. She was a little eerie, but I could see how Beau would be drawn to that. In some ways, I feel like I liked Edythe better than Edward because she was so strong and quiet and totally badass and creepy in a more believable vampire way. Like I never believed Edward was dangerous, but Edythe? She might snap at any time and I believed her more when she kept trying to push Beau away for some reason. While I prefer Bella and Edward, I was down to root for Beau and Edythe. 

So why did I rate this 3 stars?

THE NAMES. OH GOD, THE NAMES. I feel like the author wrote this with the sole intention to prove that Renesmee was an amazing name and she could do a lot worse… by pulling out some of the most awful names ever. BEAU? EDYTHE? JESSAMINE? ROYAL?! EARNEST? ARCHIE? (In place of Bella, Edward, Jasper, Rosalie, Esme, Alice.) Omg. Ugh, can we just stop? Seriously, it was so off putting that I couldn’t even really picture the side characters anymore and just wanted to gag at the horrendous name swaps. UGH.

Which brings me to my next point…

I don’t feel like EVERYONE had to be gender swapped. It would’ve worked just as well had everyone except Bella and Edward swapped. She could’ve swapped Jacob just for the potential love triangle, but that’s seriously it. She could’ve had Jessica want to get with Beau instead of swapped every friend and Cullen in the entire book aside from Renee and Charlie. There really wasn’t a need to swap everyone and it just made it that much harder to get through the book. Not only was I reading awful names, but I was trying to match them up with whoever they were supposed to be and it distracted me from the main characters: Beau and Edythe. I would’ve preferred familiar characters with just the two characters swapping genders.

It wasn’t the best book and sort of redundant up until the end, so I can’t really give it much more than 3 stars to be fair, but I’m still glad I read it. I know fans wanted Midnight Sun and there’s another set up fans ready to riot over the lack of sequels to The Host, but I respected Meyer’s decision to write this and send the message that it can be done. And as much as I would’ve preferred maybe a different vampire romance with a human guy and vampire girl, the fact that’s is a complete gender swap does give it a certain OOMPH that shouts to the world that Bella can be a guy in the same exact story that is almost verbatim and it still works. So, there.

Star 3

 

Owlcrate Unboxing – August 2017

 

August’s Theme was

Something Wicked This Way Comes

 

 

 

I love darker themes and I’m glad August, despite being a summer month, had a creepier theme!

So what was in the box?

 

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The goods:

 

 

  • The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones with exclusive cover, letter, and signed bookplate. It was also supposed to come with a heart shaped pin, but my box did not have one. (No worries, I contacted Owlcrate and I’m confident it will be sent!)
 
  • Edgar Allen Poe-lka dot socks from Out of Print Clothing

 

  • Fountain pen from Ody.

 

  • Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories published by Rock Paper Books

 

  • This Savage Song sticker designed by Evie Bookish

 

  • Six of Crows bookmark by Treehouse of Books.

 

  • Dark Arts coffee by Happenstance Coffee.
 
  • Exclusive Owlcrate Pin

 

 

My thoughts:

I liked the box, but I have no idea why a box with the specific Something Wicked This Way Comes theme wouldn’t have SOMETHING from Ray Bradbury! I was hoping for some bit of reference to him with the classic paperback, the coffee, socks.. something. It was a huge missed opportunity. Despite liking all of the items, I can’t help but be disappointed that there weren’t any subtle references or props to Bradbury and/or the book title. I feel that the theme name should’ve been something else that still conveyed Wickedness. 

 

Review – Caraval by Stephanie Garber

 

Caraval

By Stephanie Garber

SummaryRemember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Source: I received a hardcover in an Owlcrate

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Review:

I enjoyed Caraval so much. It promised an atmosphere similar to that of The Night Circus and it came in the Run Away with the Circus themed Owlcrate box. It wasn’t quite the same, but I see why the two books are compared or recommended to fans of one or the other.

I enjoyed the mystery and intrigue. Everything that happened from the moment Scarlett awoke to find herself headed to Caraval was a mystery. Who could she trust? Could she even trust herself? What would happen? Is everything just a game? I love books that can surprise me and throw something at me and make me doubt my own instincts. Caraval did a wonderful job with maintaining the atmosphere, surprising the reader, and remaining unpredictable to the very end.

My only real complaint was that I never really cared for Scarlett or her sister and I thought the book could’ve been amazing had they been more likable. But I am one to read books often with characters that are unlikable, sometimes on purpose, and enjoy them, so it wasn’t off-putting for me. Fair warning, if you tend to dislike books as a whole when you don’t like the main character, Caraval may not be the book for you.

I definitely recommend Caraval and I’m glad i finally picked it up and read it. It was exactly what i was in the mood for and did not disappoint. I loved the ride and figuring out what, if anything, I could trust.

Star 4

 

Review – Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Their Fractured Light

By Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

SummaryA year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

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Source: I purchased a paperback

Review:

I loved Their Fractured Light. It’s been a few years since I’ve read the first two in the trilogy, so I was concerned about how much I would be able to keep up, but it was fine. Their Fractured Light introduced new characters Sofia and Gideon and the main focus in the beginning was on both of them. They referred to the broadcast from Avon and there was mention of the shipwreck involving Lilac LaRoux, so there were enough references to get me back up to speed without having to reread the rest of the books again. I liked that each book in the trilogy focused on different people’s POV’s because it gave me different perspectives, which was important to the ending of the story. 

I enjoyed the Starbound trilogy quite a bit. The setting was perfect, as science fiction isn’t nearly as populated with books in YA as fantasy. The romances in each book had characters I wanted to root for and were unique in their own ways. I loved that the series was adventurous and mysterious, while also being beautifully written. The relationships between the characters were seemingly unrelated, but the finale brought everyone full circle. Their Fractured Light took a few plots set in the same universe and brought them together for a tremendous ending. All in all, it was a story of humanity, courage, love, and triumphing over greed. 

I highly recommend the Starbound Trilogy. It’s a breath of fresh air in the YA science fiction genre and I love how all of the books were different from one another, but yet it was still clear that they were all a part of one story. 

Star 4